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Nurse religiosity and spiritual care




To describe how the religiosity of Christian nurses motivates their practice and manifests during patient care, especially spiritual care.


Nurses around the world are often religious. This religiosity inherently affects nursing practice. Ethical codes, however, direct that nurses ought to never proselytize their religion while caring for patients. Little is known about how the religion of nurses affects their nursing practice.


Cross-sectional phenomenological study.


Data were collected during semi-structured interviews in 2009–2011 with 14 Christian nurses in the USA. Data were coded and thematically analysed after transcription.


Informants described how they approached patients with religious conversation or spiritual care interventions that were overtly Christian in nature. With some awareness of the potential for harm in presenting their Christian beliefs and practices, these nurses also observed for patient cues before raising religious discourse and maintained caution so as to respect patient autonomy. Religiosity also was a personal resource for these nurses as they cared for very ill patients. The following themes were described: religious determinants and influences, perceptions of divine promptings and protection, religious approaches to spiritual care, respecting patient spirituality/religiosity and religious preparation for daily work.


Understanding these religious motivations and religious spiritual care practices of Christian nurses provides evidence that can stimulate debate for policy makers and scholars. It can also inform educators teaching spiritual care and administrators supervising religious nurses.